The Best — As I See It!
Part II: Wide Receivers
What is really fun about being a fan of a long established pro sports franchise is that you have an ever filling reservoir of players from which to choose for your list of best in a particular position. And, being a fan of the team whether it is for 50 years or five years means that you can fall back on your own personal opinion when making your own list of the best.
What follows is my list of the best Washington Redskins by squad.
Part I will cover the offensive line.
Part II will identify the best receivers.
Part III will list the best quarterbacks.
Part IV will describe the best running backs.
Part V goes into the best defensive linemen.
Part VI covers the linebackers.
Part VII is for the defensive linemen.
Part VIII will discuss the best linebackers.
Part IX will i.d. the best defensive backs.
Again, this is my opinion. I encourage you to post your list of the best in a particular position as a comment to my article that covers that position. For example, no doubt you have your own opinions on who were the best Washington Redskins receivers. Post your picks as a comment to my article.
Okay, here we go in order.
There are plenty of reasons why Charley Taylor is listed as the best receiver in Redskins history. First, his stats warrant it. When he retired as a player he was the all time leading receiver with 694 catches for 9,110 yards and 79 touchdowns. And keep in mind, back then the season was 14 games, not 16 as it is today. In his 13 years as player he caught 50 passes or more seven times. He played in eight Pro Bowls, was named to the All-NFL or All NFC team three times, was among the top 10 in receptions from 1964 through 1975, was among the top 10 in receiving yards in 1964 and from 1966 through 1974, and among the top 10 in receiving touchdowns from 1966 through 1967 and from 1969 through 1973. Today he is among the league’s all time top 50 in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, receiving touchdowns, yards from scrimmage and rushing and receiving touchdowns. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and one of the 70 Greatest Redskins of All time. And, he still had an influence after his playing days. He was the Redskins receiver coach when the roster included Art Monk, Gary Clark, Rickie Sanders and Charlie Brown. Enough said!
I think time may have effected the memories of those of us who watched Bobby Mitchell play for the Skins. He was not a in-house product so to speak. The Redskins acquired him from the Cleveland Browns. But he was an immediate contributor and helped to make the Redskins offense fun to watch again. He had great speed and great ability to fake the shoes off anyone who defended against him. And he had joy for the game. He would kick up his feet like a drum major as he approached the goal line and it was not uncommon to see him jump up and down and clap when he scored a TD. He played in four Pro Bowls, was selected to the All NFL Team three times and was an All Pro selection as a Redskin three times. He had a total of 6,492 total yards as a Redskin, he is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins of All Time and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Art Monk is finally being recognized for the great receiver he was and will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. In a 16 year career — 14 seasons with the Redskins — he set the record for career receptions, was the first receiver to catch more than 100 passes in a season (1984), gained more than 1,000 yards in receiving in a season five times, played in three Super Bowls and was on the winning side two times and was selected to three Pro Bowls. He is fifth all time in receptions and ninth in receiving yards, he is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins of All Time, and he is the All Time Redskins receptions leader with 888 catches. In the Super Bowl win against the Buffalo Bills in 1991 he caught seven passes for 113. He was a quiet guy. He didn’t like talking to reporters. And that could be one reason he was shunned by sports reporters who vote on who should be inducted into the Hall. But he led by example and was a great guy personally. He may not have talked to the official press. But he gave me an awful lot of time in a phone interview when I was seeking information on a story I did on him. That article, “Whatever Happened to … Art Monk,” can be found at http://www.captialnewsservice.net/Monk.htm.
I consider Gary Clark the fourth best receiver in Redskins history because of his competitiveness. I think Redskins fans remember him arguing with Joe Gibbs on the sideline during a game. Gibbs used to say that he wished he had more players like Clark. He played eight seasons with the Redskins (1985-1992). In a total of 122 games he caught 549 passes for 8,742 yards. He averaged 15.9 yards per catch and scored 58 touchdowns. He played in two Super Bowls (XXII— 1987, XXVI-1991). In the Redskins victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII Clark caught three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. In Super Bowl XXVI — the win over the Buffalo Bills — he caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. He was selected to four Pro Bowls; he is listed as one of the top 50 in receptions, receiving yards, receiving TDs, and yards from scrimmage in NFL history. Now some may argue that Jerry Rice was the best receiver in NFL history. But Clark’s stats match up with Rice in individual years. For example, in 1987 Rice caught 65 passes for 1078 yards and 22 touchdowns. He averaged 16.6 yards a reception. Clark caught 56 passes for 1066 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 19 yards per reception. In 1991 Rice caught 80 passes for 1206 yards and 14 touchdowns. He averaged 15.1 yards per reception. Clark caught 70 passes for 1340 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 19.1 yards per reception. I don’t think there is any doubt that Gary Clark will be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I did an article on Gary Clark. You can see it at http://www.capitalnewsservice.net/Clark.htm.
Finally, I want to make an honorable mention. I think this guy has been forgotten by Redskins fans. He played for the Skins for only three seasons but he helped the team reach two Super Bowls. I am referring to Charlie Brown who played for the Redskins from 1988 through 1984. In three seasons with the Redskins he was selected to two Pro Bowls (1982, 1983). He was only 5-feet, 10-inches tall but he had great speed and great jumping ability. I remember him jumping high to take the ball away from many defenders. He was traded to the Atlanta Falcons after the 1984 season and simply faded away. He was a great example of a player who perfectly matched an offensive scheme. A major contributor to the Gibbs offense when a Redskin but ordinary playing under the offensive scheme of another team. I truly believe that if Charlie Brown stayed with the Redskins his career would have been longer and it would have been a memorable one. I think he would have been a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After he was traded, the Redskins had a tough time replacing him until they signed Ricky Sanders in 1986.
Okay, now it’s your turn. Do you agree with my selections? If so, say so and say why. Or do you think I’m full of it? If so, say so and say why. I challenge you to select your top four Redskins receivers of all time and back your selections with facts.